Happy Valentines Day! I’m sure many of us will be going on romantic dates later and might just be using an Uber to get to that overpriced restaurant for dinner. Here’s some more food for thought: is your Uber rating going down (or up) based on your willingness to tip at the end of the ride?That’s what I’ve been thinking about after reading this week’s related Uber-related posts by One Mile at a Time and Travel Skills, titled “Should I Tip My Uber Driver?” (both with heated comments, so get your popcorn ready).
What I like most about Uber is that it’s a cashless transaction. I love the convenience of getting in and out of the car and not having to deal with digging for my wallet at the end of the ride.
In fact, in the Uber FAQ, it states: “You don’t need cash when you ride with Uber. Once you arrive at your destination, your fare is automatically charged to your credit card on file — there’s no need to tip.”
There is no way to add a tip to your fare using the Uber app, so I’ve been seriously thinking about the correlation between a passenger’s rating and tipping.
I’ve always been proud of my once 4.96 rating (back when you had to ask your Uber driver to disclose it to you), and I always make sure I am a pleasant passenger to deal with (polite, on-time, clean, considerate and all that jazz that Uber suggests). My rating has been pretty steady after completing close to 100 rides across a variety of cities around the world.
I checked my rating last night, and it is down to a 4.7 (which isn’t terrible, but it’s still down), and I did some Googling about this phenomenon (heck there’s even several threads about tipping in an online community dedicated entirely to Uber drivers). Apparently I’m not the first person to believe that your unwillingness to tip just might have a negative effect on your score.
One recent MarketWatch article states: “Drivers accept tips and, at least anecdotally, a growing number seem to be expecting them”
There’s no way to add a tip to your fare using the Uber app, so now many passengers are giving “five for-five”. Apparently there’s the unspoken “five-for-five” rule in the Uber culture, which translates to somewhat of a secret handshake – you give me a $5 tip, and I give you a 5-star passenger rating.
Am I not getting a 5-star rating at the end of each ride because I don’t leave cash at the end of my trips?
First the record, there have been many instances when I have tipped my Uber driver… especially when I am traveling with my kids and the bulky double stroller. I’ve also tipped on other random trips too when I’m feeling extra generous or if the driver truly does something spectacular. But I will be the first to say that I don’t usually tip at the end of my Uber rides.
The majority of my trips are to and from airports, primarily because I don’t feel like dealing with rude taxi-mafia drivers to begin with. It’s an obvious truth that Uber rides are far less intimidating and definitely more affordable.
But what I’ve also learned is that many Uber drivers double duty as professional drivers where tipping is heavily
bullied encouraged (car service and/or taxi). When times are slow, they can simply switch on the Uber app and start taking rides as they please.
So there’s a very good chance your Uber driver is already conditioned into expecting a tip at the end of a ride. We all know that the car service culture (business travelers who usually aren’t picking up the tab) is different than the UberX culture, so it’s easy to believe that your driver might be swayed (indirectly or not) to rate lower in instances when there’s no tip involved.
In general, still think the tipping culture in America is getting out of control. There’s nothing more frustrating than being in a taxi cab in Las Vegas, having an $8 ride, and being charged a $3 “convenience fee” for using your credit card… and then on top of that, a 25% tip “suggestion” automatically highlighted before you reach the final payment screen. Talk about a joke!
Let’s hope Uber doesn’t end up like this down the road, but if the bribery continues, I wouldn’t be surprised…
I would love to hear your thoughts. Have you noticed a dip (or spike) in your Uber passenger rating based on your tipping habits?